GlobaLinks March 2024

Collaborative EU project achieves breakthrough in medical robotics

Prof. Zhang and Prof. Iacovacci have achieved a breakthrough in magnetic robotics for cancer treatment.

Prof. Zhang and Prof. Iacovacci have achieved a breakthrough in magnetic robotics for cancer treatment.

Prof. Li Zhang of the Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering hosted Prof. Veronica Iacovacci, a Marie Curie Fellow, at CUHK from 2020 to 2022. Prof. Iacovacci’s visit was supported by the prestigious EU-funded Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions Global Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme, which is known for its competitiveness and recognition of the best and most promising scientists.

Prof. Zhang and Prof. Iacovacci collaborated on the MAMBO project (Magnetic swArms for liver chemoeMBOlization), which aims to revolutionise cancer chemotherapy and chemoembolisation procedures by utilising magnetic forces to target chemotherapeutics to specific regions and achieve stable embolisation of tumour blood vessels. They have successfully developed a soft microrobotic system that responds to ultrasound and magnetic fields.

Prof. Zhang took pride in nurturing Prof. Iacovacci during her time at CUHK. Following the completion of the fellowship, she was promoted to Assistant Professor at the School of Advanced Studies Sant’Anna (SSSA), one of Italy’s top institutions.

Prof. Iacovacci remarked ‘I am very grateful for the time spent at CUHK and for the opportunity to work in such an inspiring environment. The Marie-Curie fellowship progrmame has propelled my personal and scientific growth.’

Prof. Arianna Menciassi, Prof. Iacovacci’s project supervisor at SSSA commented, ‘The project’s accomplishment is a direct outcome of the bilateral effort between the research teams in Pisa, Italy and Hong Kong. We envision this as the beginning of a long-lasting collaboration.’

CUHK has expanded its expertise and research capabilities in medical robotics and targeted therapy through its involvement in the MAMBO project. Notably, this significant partnership is featured on the EU website, bolstering CUHK’s international reputation and exemplifying its commitment to fostering global research and nurturing young talent.